Monday, December 5, 2011

Kale-Collards-Broccoli Puree

After a medical appointment last week, my husband and I stopped at the Duluth Whole Foods
Co-op, which is only a few blocks from the medical complex. As I surveyed the hot deli bar, I spied a chafing pan filled with a mixture of sauteed kale, collards and broccoli.  The appeal of those dark, leafy greens and broccoli was tantalizing.  It's reassuring to know that at least sometimes I really crave incredibly healthy food.  I purchased a small portion of these green jewels and brought them home and simmered them in just a bit of vegetable broth, then pureed them with an immersion blender.  I hadn't used very much broth, so a thick consistency was the result, and I refrigerated it.  The next day for lunch,  I spread it on a slice of sourdough bread and topped it with feta cheese and a squeeze of tomato paste. The added benefit of sourdough bread is that it contains healthy probiotics, besides being soft and yummy. I decided the spread would also be great a substitute for lettuce on a sandwich sometime in the future.   

If you are wondering why I can eat bread, but not raw lettuce or even cooked kale or broccoli, it's because the bread will dissolve in my gastric juices, but the greens won't. My gastroenterologist's "rule of thumb" for me is if the food won't dissolve in my gastric juices, then it needs to be able to squeeze through a tube of toothpaste.  Otherwise, it will likely create an obstruction.   See my Food Challenges tab for more information about my dietary challenges, if you haven't already looked at it.  I use coconut oil frequently because, as a medium-chain triglyceride, it doesn't require as many pancreatic enzymes to digest as most fats, which makes it a great choice for people with pancreatic insufficiency. 

When I purchased the sauteed greens, I noted the listed ingredients and the next day I called the Co-op to ask about the proportions of the ingredients.  While the Whole Foods Co-op will not share their recipes, the kitchen chef I spoke with was extraordinarily gracious and friendly and told me that they used an equal portion of kale, collards, and broccoli and sauteed them in olive oil with garlic.  Based on what the cook told me, I made my own version of this today.   This time, I used it as a base for steamed flounder, and again used a garnish of a squeeze of tomato paste from the tube. The taste contrasts were splendid.  I think this greens mixture would also be a healthy sauce for pasta.  Move over pesto!

The convenience of purchasing the cooked greens at the Co-op  last week was most helpful after a long morning of medical appointments, and also provided inspiration for new creations for me.  Yes, I do love the Duluth Whole Foods Co-op!

Steamed Flounder on Kale-Collards-Broccoli Puree

1 cup chopped kale, thick stems removed
1 cup chopped collard greens
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup vegetable broth
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to desired taste            

Heat coconut oil in pan over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and saute until golden.  Add chopped vegetables and saute until tender, adding vegetable broth a bit at a time, being careful not to create a mixture that is too thin.   Puree with an immersion blender.  To use as a spread, refrigerate overnight.   To use as a base for something like fish, keep it warm. 

Nutrition: (does not include salt, pepper, feta cheese or tomato paste)
Servings per recipe: 3

Chopped greens and broccoli
Serving Size:  1/2 cup                              
Calories: 109
Total Fat: 9 g                                              
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 56 mg
Total Carbs: 6 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 2 g

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